Exactly, Bruce. Being slightly experienced with cast bullets, it took me all of about ten seconds to "de-lead" the die, and I've never run an unlubed bullet through any sizer again. It was worth trying, but not worth repeating.
Oh, yeah. If you're sizing any decent diameter bullet in a Star, and you hear the bullet creak as it's sized you can pretty much kiss the next hour or so goodbye. I've had to go as far as drilling the bullet center out a couple times. I'll be powder coating 545 gr cast for the 458 SOCOM. After they cool from the oven I'll be giving them a light touch of lube to help them make it through the sizer without issue. BLL looks good, but in this context a light tumble with melted JPW should work out as well.
Ok guys, here is the solution to a stuck bullet in the Star.
Take the die out of the sizer. With a stuck bullet you can't use the puller like normal but the die can be pushed up from below.
Get a large enough Lee type push rod for the Lee sizers
With pusher in ram put the Star die UNDER the head of your press with the flange DOWN.
Place the pusher into the die and press Star die flange against bottom of press head with the body of the Star die in the threaded hole in press head.
You now are using the camming action of a reloading press to shove the bullet thru. Your press can handle this, your Star can not.
This is how I test a sizer when I am making them. If too small i can easily remove more metal. Way faster than putting the die in the Star.
My usual method is to remove the die and push the bullet backwards in my bench vice, using misc. crap I have laying around like loose tapered rollers from big bearings, or stuff like that. I'll have to try your method the next time I screw up, and it will happen. You are completely correct. Star sizers can't take much abuse, and their mechanical advantage isn't very good at all. I've rarely ever seen one that didn't have at least some bend in the handle.
I run a lubed bullet back thru every so often.
Even then a .002-.003 hard bullet is gonna be a bear. Those get run thru a Lee push thru first then final sized and lubed in the Star.
I do baby the Star.
the issue is lube on the bullet so you could size before trying to powder coat.
I once thought about adding a stickum to the bullet then shaking in powder to coat, but that didn't work out very well.
the powder stuck alright but the cooking part wasn't so cool.
after powder coat sizing I use a little swage lube on my finger and thumb as I pick up each one to load the tubes.
just the little dots is enough to keep everything moving smoothly.
if I stick a bullet in the die I pull the die and drill the center of the bullet out, scrape the lube off, then just melt the bullet out.
then I pick out the shot and put new shot in, add some lube to the ring, and re-insert the die.
it's just the easiest way for me with the limited tools I have.
I use Winelovers method. I have a little Bens Red in a Sierra bullet box , with the top torn off, next to my sizer. I just wipe a little lube on the die rim and drag the body of the bullet to catch the lube as I start it in the die. About every 7-8 works for me. I pour my Bens Red into my sizer and just add a little to the box each time I fill the sizer.
Heavy shake & bake coating of Smoke's black on 145gr boolits adds >0.4gr wt or 0.2% wt to the boolit. Even off center it doesn't effect trajectory any unless shot really fast. HiTek claims his coating is thinner and more 'even' than PC, thus 'more' accurate but if you put 0.2% wt on one side, and spin above 100K rpm, not much difference.
Jim, your bullets on the OP don't look bad but the coating is a little thicker than I would like, but they should shoot fine. Let me start out by saying I'm no expert on the subject of powder coating cast lead bullets as I can only relate is what works for me so here is my 2 cents worth.
The equipment I use is nothing fancy, I use an old convection toaster oven that I have verified running for an hour with an oven thermometer that the temperature stays constant at around 400 degrees. I don't trust the dial on the over as the temp can be off as much as 50 to 75 degrees on the plus side on some ovens. I bake all my bullets pistol and rifle standing up on Reynolds Non-Stick side up aluminum foil for 20 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven.
When done I either just set them aside and let the bullets air cool or dump them in a bucket of water to quench them. It's important to know that depending on how you cast your bullets the curing process can anneal the lead provided that the alloy you're using responds to water quenching.
1. If you air cool your bullets when cast then PC them an allow them to air cool again the second time there is no change in the as cast BHN of the bullet.
2. If you air cool your bullets when cast then PC them and quench them right out of the toaster oven they will gain a hardness of about 75% over the as cast BHN.
3. If you quench your bullets out of the mold to begin with then PC them and allow them to air cool they will soften around 50% from the original first quenching BHN.
4. If you quench your bullets out of the mold to begin with then PC them and quench them right out of the toaster over a second time you only loose around 15% hardness from the first quenching.
For shake an bake container I use either a clear #5 container like you get at the local Chinese restaurant that soup comes in or a White #5 32 oz. Great Value brand Yogurt container. Pretty sure any #5 container will work, I just have those around at all time, and they have worked well for me.
Small clear tub.
For the beads I put in the container I've used the black air soft BB's, and they work fine but I stumbled across a supple of plastic multicolored pony beads out in storage that you can buy at Walmart in the craft section for around a $1.30 a bag that work just as well if not better and you can rinse them off an reuse them with other colors if you so desire. I usually put the beads about 1" or so deep in the small tube and about 2" deep in the larger container. I add my powder usually around 1/2 tsp and give in a shake for 15 seconds or so to mix everything up before adding bullets, then about 30 seconds worth of shaking in all directions usually give an excellent coat. It also helps if your relative humidity is around 40% or less as it helps create static electricity more efficiently.
Small tub with beads and powder ready to add bullets, notice how the powder clings to the sides of the tub.
When adding bullets I start out with around 50 to 75 bullets depending on size an weight in the containers I use, I don't add anymore powder unless the amount in the contain is not enough to coat the bullet as I like and only then I only add about 1/8 to 1/4 tsp additional powder. Too much powders is as bad as to little as you will get clumping on the bullets and fill in all the groove and have an uneven coating on the bullets.
The powder you use with the shake and bake method can determine what your final outcome will be, not all powders coat as well as others. I like the polymer based pigments as it is ground much finer which is what most commercial powder coat companies sell over the epoxy based pigments you find at Harbor Freight. Solid colors like Ford light and Dark Blue, Med. or Lime Green sold by Eastwood cover really nice as well as Carolina or Signal Blue, Yellow / Green or Super Durable Clear sold by Smoke over on Cast Boolits have all given excellent coverage for me. I get less than desired coverage with colors like Yellow, some lighter Oranges, Purples and any Metallic's so I just don't use those. I like a few colors but if I were to just choose one I would go with the Clear and call it a day as it gives a very fine coverage and flows well to any missed spot unlike some of the lighter colors will and leave splotches.
Bullets in large tube with Black air soft BB's clear coated with Smoke Clear ready to place on tray to cure.
45 ACP in large container with beads using SmoKes Yellow / Green coated ready to cure.
Cured clear coated, sized, checked and ready to load.
Cured, Carolina Blue, sized, checked and ready to load.
My final thoughts on powder coated bullets are that I just treat the coating as a lube that has a couple added benefits such as better long term storage of component bullet in less than ideal conditions that would effect normal form of bullet lube, and little to no smoke at all. Some claim that it eliminates leading which I suppose in some instances it does, but that was never an issue I had to deal with before I started PC'ing bullets. As far as gas checks go I shoot gas check bullets with the check left off all the time in some loads with good accuracy as they are not really needed until a certain velocity / pressure range starts to effect your alloy, once you reach that point at lease in my limited experiences bullets designed to take a gas check will always shoot more accurately with the check installed than not.
One thing I have recently done that has improved the evenness of my coatings tremendously is More BBs!
At first I only covered the bottom of my container with one layer....that was causing my thickness & unevenness issue.
Now I put a layer in that is about 3/4 to 1 inch deep. That made all the difference in the world.
Much more consistent results